NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An NYPD officer convicted of assault for stomping on the head of a suspect as he was being handcuffed by other officers in Brooklyn nearly two years ago has been sentenced to two years probation.
If not terminated, 38-year-old Joel Edouard must also resign from his job as a police officer within 24 hours, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said Thursday.
“This police officer intentionally and needlessly stomped on the head of a suspect who had already been restrained by fellow officers,” Thompson said in a statement. “And he did so in broad daylight and in front of a crowd of people.”
Edouard was found guilty in April of one count of third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, after a three-day bench trial in which a judge, rather than a jury, decided the verdict.
Thompson said his office recommended a sentence of 60 days in jail followed by two years’ probation.
“He deserved to spend time in jail for committing such a blatant act of police brutality, but we accept the sentence imposed by the court,” he said.
The incident occurred in Bedford-Stuyvesant on July 23, 2014 and was caught on video.
According to prosecutors, Edouard and his partner saw 32-year-old Jahmiel Cuffee drinking on the sidewalk and had what appeared to be marijuana.
The video showed Edouard point his gun at Cuffee and then stomp on his head while the suspect was face down on the ground being subdued by other officers, prosecutors said.
“He kicked me in the head, my head hit the concrete,” Cuffee previously told CBS2. “That officer just had something — something was wrong with him that day.”
Prosecutors said Cuffee suffered a contusion and later dizziness, headaches and nausea.
Edouard’s defense claimed that the officer brought his boot down on the man’s hand. A photo of apparent injuries to the suspect’s head taken the day after the arrest were disputed by the police officer’s defense team, who say Cuffee’s public appearances in the days after the arrest show no such wounds.
In April, defense attorney Anthony Ricco said he and his client were “very disappointed with the verdict.”